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Discovering Tasmania's West Coast and Cradle Mountain in a 5-Day roadtrip

Updated: May 16

Embarking on a 5-day road trip through the heart of Tasmania is not merely a journey; it's an odyssey into a realm where nature unfolds its secrets in breathtaking panoramas. From the lively streets of Hobart to the rugged peaks of Cradle Mountain, each day promises a new chapter in the story of Tasmania's unparalleled beauty.

bridge near queenstown
Credit: She Who Explores

Join the adventure as you traverse through quaint towns, chase waterfalls, and camp under starlit skies in a fully-equipped van. This is not just a road trip; it's an exploration of Tasmania's tapestry – a vibrant blend of rich history, untamed wilderness, and the warm embrace of coastal charm. Buckle up for an adventure where every twist in the road reveals a new facet of Tasmania's wild allure.

What to bring?

  • Pack light as our campervans comes fully equipped!

  • Essentials include personal items, comfortable clothing, sturdy shoes for exploring, toiletries.

  • Bring a camera for capturing memories, and an open heart to embrace the journey.

  • Your Tasmanian National Park Pass

What to Anticipate?

  • Anticipate a culinary delight with local treasures such as fresh berries, seafood, and wine.

  • Experience the enchantment of encountering Tasmania's wildlife, a spectacle like no other!

  • Embark on a soulful trek towards Tasmania’s stunning inland wonders, lacing up your hiking boots for an unforgettable adventure.

Trip Details

  • Approx 900kms

  • Approx 2.5h driving per day

  • Approx $250 petrol*

Day 1: Hobart to Derwent Bridge - Discovering Nature's Palette

New Norfolk
Credit: Mauricio E. Mozo

Your journey commences amidst the vibrant energy of Hobart. Following a satisfying breakfast and ensuring your fully-equipped van is prepped for the adventure, your first destination is the charming town of New Norfolk, situated alongside the picturesque Derwent River. As you leisurely stroll through its historic streets, seize the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, pausing for a delightful coffee break.

With your senses awakened, set course for the enchanting Mount Field National Park. This natural haven boasts lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and sprawling alpine moorlands. Your trek within the park leads you to the awe-inspiring Tall Trees Walk, where you find yourself surrounded by towering eucalyptus trees, including some of the tallest in the world. These ancient giants, reaching heights that seem to touch the sky, offer a humbling perspective on the enduring beauty and grandeur of Tasmania's natural wonders.

Russell Falls
Credit: Jason Charles Hill

Upon your arrival in Derwent Bridge, you're presented with the choice to either embark on a scenic cruise along the tranquil waters or opt for invigorating hikes in the surrounding wilderness. The cruising option unveils the serene beauty of Lake St Clair, Australia's deepest natural freshwater lake, where reflections of rugged mountains and ancient forests paint a mesmerizing picture. Alternatively, for those seeking a more active adventure, the diverse network of hiking trails around Derwent Bridge provides opportunities to discover hidden gems and witness the untouched wilderness from elevated viewpoints. Whatever your choice, the evening in Derwent Bridge promises a perfect blend of tranquility and exploration.

Stay overnight at: Lake King William Campsite (free)

Day 2: Strahan - Waterfalls, Wilderness, and Coastal Charm

Embark on the second leg of your adventure as you set your compass westward toward the coastal haven of Strahan. En route, enrich your journey with a visit to Nelson Falls, a hidden gem tucked within a dense rainforest. The soothing sound of cascading water and the lush greenery surrounding the falls make for a serene stop, providing a moment of tranquility before the next chapter of your exploration.

nelson falls
Credit: Stu Gibson

Continuing your route, arrive at Queenstown, a town steeped in Tasmania's mining history. Its unique landscapes, shaped by years of mining activities, offer a fascinating glimpse into the region's industrial past. Taking a stroll through Queenstown's historic streets unveils a living museum of heritage and resilience.

Windy road tasmania
Credit: Jason Charles Hill

Your adventure then takes an unexpected turn as you explore the Henty Dunes, where vast sand dunes meet the coastal landscape. Climbing these impressive dunes rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean meeting the rugged terrain—a sensory experience that adds a touch of exhilaration to your coastal journey.

Henty Dunes on tasmania west coast
Credit: Jason Charles Hill

As the sun begins its descent, you reach the coastal gem of Strahan. The golden hues of the sunset over the ocean create a magical atmosphere, setting the stage for a relaxing evening in this quaint town. Nestled between the Tasmanian wilderness and the ocean, Strahan offers an opportunity to unwind. A delightful seafood dinner by the waterfront completes the day, allowing you to savor not just the flavors of the region but also the coastal charm that makes Strahan a truly enchanting destination.

Stay overnight at: Lake King William Campsite (free)

Day 3: Cradle Mountain - A Symphony of Peaks and Falls

Going to Montezuma Falls swing bridge
Credit: Jess Bonde

Continue your expedition into the heart of Tasmania as you set your sights on the iconic Cradle Mountain, a place of ethereal beauty and wilderness wonders. Before reaching the famed national park, your journey is graced by the breathtaking Montezuma Falls, a hidden gem nestled amidst lush landscapes. The roar of cascading water and the verdant surroundings create a sense of awe, making this detour a memorable highlight.

As you approach Cradle Mountain, the majestic Mount Murchison looms in the distance, a prelude to the rugged peaks and serene lakes awaiting you. Cradle Mountain National Park unfolds with its dramatic landscapes, offering a tapestry of pristine wilderness. Your intention is to immerse yourself in the tranquility of both sunset and sunrise, when the winds whisper softly, and the crowds recede, allowing you to truly connect.

cradle mountain man on dove lake
Credit: Jason Charles Hill

As daylight fades, find yourself in the company of a cozy campfire, nestled within the embrace of Cradle Mountain's wilderness. Under the expansive canvas of stars, share stories and reflections on the day's adventures. The crackling of the fire becomes a companion to the stillness of the night, creating a magical atmosphere that lingers in your memories as you prepare for another day of exploration in the morning light.

Stay overnight at: Cradel Mountain Fishery & Camping ($30-$45 / 2 pers)

Day 4: Cradle Mountain to Launceston - Murals and Vines

Awaken to the majestic views of Cradle Mountain, dedicating your morning to further exploration, traversing the trails that wind through this pristine wilderness. The crisp mountain air and the untouched beauty of the landscape make for a serene start to the day. As you bid a fond farewell to Cradle Mountain, your journey towards Launceston begins, promising encounters with artistic marvels and the pleasures of the Tamar Valley.

deloraine river at dusk
Credit: Tasmania University

Your first stop is the enchanting town of Deloraine, where the charm of colonial architecture and the meandering river create a picturesque setting. A leisurely stroll through its streets offers a glimpse into Tasmania's history, complemented by artisanal shops and cafes that add a modern flair to the town's allure.

Sheffield, town of murals, tasmania
Credit: Jess Bonde

Continuing your road trip, arrive in Sheffield, an artistic wonderland renowned for its vibrant murals. Each corner of this town tells a story through art, turning the streets into an open-air gallery. Taking your time to appreciate the creativity on display, capture the essence of Sheffield's cultural tapestry.

glass of red wine near tamar river, launceston, tasmania

The journey then leads you to the shores of the Tamar River, where you discover Loira Vines, a picturesque vineyard offering more than just stunning views. Here, indulge in a delightful tasting experience, savoring the flavors of the region's finest wines while overlooking the tranquil river.

As the day draws to a close, embark on a scenic drive along the Tamar River, immersing yourself in the beauty of the Tamar Valley. The ever-changing landscapes, from vine-covered hills to peaceful waterways, create a mesmerizing backdrop for your road trip. The day concludes with a sense of fulfillment, having experienced the perfect blend of artistry and viticulture in the heart of Tasmania.

Stay overnight at: Gravelley Beach Overnight Area (free)

Day 5: Launceston to Hobart - Highland Adventure

On your final day, embark on a picturesque journey back to Hobart, traversing the High Lakes Plateau, a region known for its breathtaking landscapes and captivating vistas. As you wind through this elevated terrain, find yourself immersed in stunning panoramas of serene lakes and dense forests, creating a tranquil and awe-inspiring backdrop.

Launceston Gorge Bridge
Credit: Emilie Ristevski

Your first stop is at Liffey Falls, a hidden gem nestled within a lush rainforest. The cascading waterfalls and the pristine surroundings make this a peaceful interlude, inviting you to savor the natural beauty of Tasmania's interior.

Central Plateau Tasmania
Credit: Jason Charles Hill

Continuing your descent through the High Lakes Plateau, make your way to the Great Lakes Lookout. Here, you are treated to expansive views that stretch across the rugged highlands, offering a final glimpse of the untamed beauty that defines Tasmania's wilderness.

As you approach Hobart, a sense of accomplishment and nostalgia accompanies you. The memories forged over the past five days, from vibrant cities to remote highlands, charming towns, and coastal wonders, have woven together to create a tapestry of experiences. Tasmania's warm hospitality and diverse landscapes have etched an indelible mark on your journey.

Upon reaching Hobart, reflect on the adventures, the laughter shared around campfires, and the soul-stirring encounters with nature. Until your next road trip, Tasmania, with your myriad wonders, you will be dearly missed, but your spirit will linger in our hearts, beckoning us to return for more exploration and discovery.

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